Car Servicing – The Maintenance Free Myth

September 29th, 2017

Sometimes we hear people say, “What’s up with all this maintenance stuff? Modern cars just don’t break down.” While it is true that today’s vehicles are extremely reliable, they are also becoming increasingly complicated and use more exotic materials than ever before. All that complexity demands higher tolerances for everything. For example, most car owners don’t realize how high tech automotive fluids have become,  fluids such as engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant and brake fluid.

Did you know that a modern engine would not run for more than a few months using motor oil formulas from 30 years ago? Today’s automotive fluids contain a much higher percentage of additives to protect your vehicle’s components from premature wear and corrosion. Time and distances march on for all of our cars. Please don’t think we’re using scare tactics to get you to take care of your maintenance – but here are some personal stories we’ve heard to emphasize and show how important it is to get things done when they are due. Names are withheld to avoid embarrassment to those who should know better. Even though they should know better, it usually comes down to real life: time and money. But they are tales of “a stitch in time saves nine”.

The first comes from someone who bought a used pick-up truck for his son. The oil was clean and all the fluids were topped off. A short time later, the truck overheated and shut down. The repair shop diagnosed the problem: the radiator pan was corroded and dumped the coolant. Even though the coolant level was correct, it was clear that the coolant had never been completely replaced – just topped off from time to time. While this kept the engine cool, all of the anti-corrosion additives had worn out; the coolant became acidic and ate through the radiator pan. The cost: hundreds of dollars and four days in the shop. This demonstrates the need to get your coolant exchanged on schedule.

The second: a teenage daughter and a curb. Dad’s little girl runs into a curb when she turned into a shopping center and blows the tyre. The problem came when Dad didn’t get an alignment. The impact was hard enough to ruin the tyre – so it was enough wreck the alignment, but instead of an alignment after the first tyre, Dad ended up buying a second tyre a few months later – and then an alignment.

Situation: son and wife with cars from the same vehicle manufacturer with essentially the same engine. The staff member checked the son’s maintenance schedule and saw that it needed a timing belt replacement 150,000 km. He had it done – it cost several hundred dollars. His wife’s car had done about 97,000 km, so it should be ok for a while. Right? Wrong. The problem was that the wife had the turbo charged version. Its belt was scheduled for replacement at 100,000 km.  At 107,000 km, the belt snapped on the motorway. The valves all crashed down into the cylinders at high speed, the entire head was destroyed and it had to be replaced. The cost: several thousand dollars. Does he wish he had checked the vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance schedule? You bet he does – every time he passes a big-screen TV.

The team at Oil Changers recommend taking care of little things before they become big things. And when you take care of the little things, you can make your car run better, plus, it is more economical to run. Remember to save those maintenance records. It’ll show potential buyers that you’ve taken care of your vehicle and it may help you get a better price. Or when you buy a used car, check those records. If there aren’t any, assume that the maintenance hasn’t been done and take it to Oil Changers for an inspection. Take care of unperformed routine maintenance sooner rather than later.

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